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Carina Nebula with the bright unstable star Eta Carinae in the centre of the image. edit ( 27 March ): Tweak to shadow levels to bring out more detail and also a slight reduction in the brightness of the highlights. A much larger version ( 4562 x 3072 6062 x 4082) is available on my Flickr page. previous version: Carinae Nebula ( NGC 3372 ) ( please click / tap on image to see larger and sharper ) From Wikipedia ... "Eta Carinae is a highly luminous hypergiant star. Estimates of its mass range from 100 to 150 times the mass of the Sun, and its luminosity is about four million times that of the Sun." This HDR image is constructed from 12 sets of exposures ranging from 1/8 sec ( to capture the bright centre of Eta Carinae ) through to 240 seconds. Total exposure time around 13 hours 17-19 March 2018 Image details: Objects in image: Hypergiant, Eta Carinae ( HD 93308 ) in the centre of the Homunculus Nebula Carina Nebula ( NGC 3372 ) Keyhole Nebula Open Star Clusters: - Trumpler 14, 15, 16 - Collinder 232 Field of view ..... 59' 18.2" x 39' 56.0" Image centre ...... RA: 10 45 01.762 Dec: -59 40 52.87 Orientation: North is up Telescope: Orion Optics CT12 Newtonian ( mirror 300mm, fl 1200mm, f4 ). Corrector: ASA 2" Coma Corrector Quattro 1.175x. Effective Focal Length / Aperture : 1470mm f4.7 Mount: Skywatcher EQ8 Guiding: TSOAG9 Off-Axis-Guider, Starlight Xpress Lodestar X2, PHD2 Camera: Nikon D5300 (unmodified) (sensor 23.5 x 15.6mm, 6016x4016 3.9um pixels) Location: Blue Mountains, Australia Moderate light pollution ( pale green zone on darksitefinder.com map ) Capture ( 17, 18 & 19 March 2018 ): 12 sets of sub-images with exposure duration for each set doubling ( 1/8s to 240s ) all at ISO250. ( 181 x 240sec + 10 to 20 each for the other durations ) Processing: Calibration: master bias, master flat and master dark Integration in 12 sets HDR combination Pixinsight March 2018
Open star clusters Trumpler 14 & 16 and Collinder 232 with the Carina Nebula a very colourful backdrop Eta Carinae and star clusters Trumpler 14 & 16 and Collinder 232 ( please click / tap on image to see larger ( 1632 x 1632 ) and sharper image ) The stand out member of Trumpler 16 is the unstable hypergiant Eta Carina ( just to the left of the Keyhole Nebula ). A larger ( 3264 x 3264 ) version of this image can be found on my Flickr page. Capture and processing details can be found in this post.
First Light Report of the Skywatcher Skyliner 350p Flextube (manual) I managed to get the new 350p Flex Tube out last night for the first time since I received it on Saturday (not too long to wait). I saw on the weather last night that there was going to be clear skies from 9 o clock onwards. I knew that this time of year it wasn’t going to get proper “astro” dark until 1am or later and that the moon would be out and full by then and that I needed work in the morning so accepted that the session would have to be conducted under twilight conditions at best and was more of a test run to get a feel for the scope, practice setup etc. I had yet to get the scope to focus on anything as it would not come to focus on anything I can see during the day (due to fences and surrounding houses nothing from my garden is visible further away than 2-300 feet). Set up first. This scope is obviously large and heavy. I had it set up inside the shed so I took the OTA off and put it on the shed floor (carpeted). I then took the panels (side, front and other side) off the turntable base as a single object, so I left the 3 panels stuck together to save time completely breaking it down to 4 pieces. The screws which allow the base to be taken apart and rebuilt are a little small for my hands and the holes in the base which your hands have to work are also a little cramped and prone to skinning your knuckles, so be warned! I then carried out the turntable to the lawn then carried out the panel section. I found it a bit of a pain to try and get the screws into the holes of the turntable as there is nothing to align the panels to in terms of position. You have to wiggle it and sort of hit and hope in a way on the first one and the second one. Once you have 2 (any 2) secured you are good to go on the rest as it’s all held in alignment then. After this was done I fetched the OTA, plonked it on the base and collimated it. Collimation was out by a tiny bit on the primary as expected. Total setup time from opening the shed to collimation was less than 10 minutes, probably closer to 8. Half of this was spent faffing around trying to screw the base part to the turntable part. Hardly difficult or a lengthy process in reality. Once set up the scope literally dominated the space. I have a large garden by modern standards but from being used to seeing my 250px on the lawn (what I thought was at the time quite large) compared to this it put a massive grin on my face. I couldn’t wait to get an eyepiece in it! The only thing in the sky at this point was Saturn as I couldn’t even see the brighter stars. It was very bright still (I’m sure you all feel my pain here). I got Saturn into the finder scope and then saw it in the eyepiece and set about trying to focus it. I could not get the scope to focus with a 1.25” eyepiece in a 35mm extension which is the same measurement as the extension that is provided with the scope. This leads me to believe that out of the box this scope would not find focus with it’s supplied equipment. Very odd. Thankfully I have other scopes and plenty of options. I grabbed a 50mm extension off of another scope and put this in with a 2” to 1.25” converter from my Meade diagonal which adds a further 8-10mm. All my 1.25” eyepieces come to focus in this configuration with about 20mm more back focus to play with, so I’m not hard up against the limit of travel on the focuser. My other 2” eyepieces come to focus fine in the 50mm extension on it’s own with a reasonable amount of back focus still available. Ergonomically the scope is really nice to use. Much higher off the ground at mid elevation (40-60 degrees) than the 250px so you are still seated but more comfortable. At and close to zenith the scope is close to being visible at standing and depending on your height you may well be able to look into the eyepiece directly. I’m 6 foot more or less (possibly slightly over) and at this point the eyepiece is an inch or two lower than my eye line at standing so I can spread my legs wide to lower my eyeline or crane my neck down to meet the eyepiece. Neither works for extended viewing so I raised my adjustable seat (Mey stool from FLO) to maximum elevation and perched on it. The stool provides enough height that I can rest my weight on it at any eyepiece position although the higher the stool gets the less stable it becomes. It was more than sufficient to allow me to rest my weight and view for extended time. The scope itself moves really well with the provided bearings. Smooth in both axes. It feels tail heavy even with my 24mm Meade UWA (which is a good 1kg+) so I’m not going to have to worry about counter balancing heavy eyepieces, quite the opposite in fact which is nice. I actually applied tension on the handle to prevent the tail end dropping rather than the nose. In terms of views it wouldn’t really be fair to post anything here about the views because it wasn’t dark it was twilight. I pointed it at a bright star (Arcturus) and I was surprised how bright it was. You can really see the magnitude difference between stars a lot more with a larger aperture. This was an unexpected wow moment, I was likely “blimey, how bright is that!”. In any scope you can see these bright stars easily apart from their neighbours at the eyepiece but in this scope they are incandescent by comparison! I noticed a lot more colour in the fainter stars than I have become used to. Many more red/ blues / whites and gradients of them all are visible where I’d become more used to seeing an occasional red or blue star and most white. Saturn looked good but seeing was very poor. For some moments it came into view, sharp and my jaw hit the floor. I can’t wait to get a good night of seeing and visit our other solar system objects. I am now getting much more magnification out of my eyepieces due to an increase in focal length from 1200mm to 1650mm. This made me feel like I now need an 8mm and a 10mm to fill the gaps between my 6.7mm, 8.8mm and 11mm. Delos is calling. I probably need a 6mm too in fairness as my only 6mm is a BGO. Considering it’s still twilight at the point I’m viewing I managed to very clearly see M13 and M57, very clearly. I could barely even see the bright star near M13 to find it by eye to give an indication of the sky brightness. I had to rely on averted vision looking at the sky to get and idea where to look and then scanned the area with my finder scope and eventually found it. This scope, I am utterly convinced, will blow me away when I actually look through it in the dark. By this time the moon had started to show itself and it was 11 o clock (still twilight!) and I decided that the moon was going to wash out whatever the fading twilight was leaving behind so I packed up. The pack up… well I took the OTA off and carried it to the shed. I then looked at the base and thought, do I really want to take that apart and rebuild it? I should just try carrying the whole thing. So I bent down, grabbed a handle on each side and lifted the whole thing as one object (using my legs to lift and leaning backwards). The handles are in a good position to keep the load well spread across your back and legs and it made it a really easy lift/carry. It went right through the shed door with an inch or two on each side of clearance. I put it down and loaded the OTA back on it and covered it up. This will be how I set it up from now on which means it will take the same amount of set up time as my 250px, less than a minute each way! Arguably grab and go I’ll follow up with a second light or a full on review of the scope when I’ve had a good few runs on proper dark skies with it but suffice to say the scope does not disappoint in any shape or form and I am as pleased as punch.
Skywatcher 14” FlexTube Dobsonian GOTO with extras Skywatcher Skyliner 350P 14" F/4.5 FlexTube GOTO for sale. Comes with : Skywatcher PowerTank 17Ah. Heater strip on the secondary mirror. does NOT come with the Dew Controller. Telrad Finder and Telrad Riser Base. Skywatcher 9x50 Finderscope 25mmSkywatcher Super Plossl eyepiece Skywatcher 2x Barlow lens. Dual-Speed 2" Crayford Focuser with 1.25" adapter Astrozap light shroud for Skywatcher FlexTube Cheshire Collimating Eyepiece Laser Collimating Eyepiece. This a big scope with great views. Can be used as a goto or a push to scope. In excellent condition. The scope can be assembled and disassembled in about 10 minutes or so. £1000 Buyer collects. Nottingham NG7 Area. Thanks
Skywatcher 14” FlexTube Dobsonian GOTO with extras Skywatcher Skyliner 350P 14" F/4.5 FlexTube GOTO for sale. Comes with : Skywatcher PowerTank 17Ah. Heater strip on the secondary mirror. does NOT come with the Dew Controller. Telrad Finder and Telrad Riser Base. Skywatcher 9x50 Finderscope 25mmSkywatcher Super Plossl eyepiece Skywatcher 2x Barlow lens. Dual-Speed 2" Crayford Focuser with 1.25" adapter Astrozap light shroud for Skywatcher FlexTube Cheshire Collimating Eyepiece Laser Collimating Eyepiece. this a big scope with great views. can be used as a goto or a push to scope. in excellent condition. The scope can be assembled and disassembled in about 10 minutes or so. £1250 Buyer collects. Nottingham Area. Thanks EDIT: Decided to put a reason why I am selling this scope. It's been a fabulous scope (some of you folks may have seen it at the last SGL star party). But fitting this and my 11" sct in the car is a massive squeeze (I did have a 9.25 at SGL and just managed it, with the tents and stuff). So I have decided regrettably to sell. More images can be arranged, and by all means come and view it (no obligation).